October 26, 2013
Buy at Official Site
paragraph is the second solo album released by Takahiro Eguchi under the KLAMNOP label. While his first album, pgh1, was released under a variety of aliases, his second album is credited under his real name. Featuring a bevy of vocal themes, a couple instrumental themes, and some bonus remixes, how does it compare to his first album and is it as successful?
The album opens up with “photograph,” an ambient and relaxing electronic tune that focuses on soft tones and piano. In many ways, it is reminiscent of Masashi Hamauzu’s atmospheric area themes on Final Fantasy XIII. However, it is only one of two instrumental themes on the album. The second, “Yunagi,” is a piano based jazz tune that would work well as background in a nice lounge. Compared to other jazz out there, it is a bit on the simplistic side, but it definitely exudes a lot of charm.
The rest of the album focuses on a variety of vocal themes; however, unlike pgh1, the vocal themes on this album definitely show the softer side of Eguchi, for the most part, and are mostly pop flavored in soundscape and incorporate both organic and electronic tones to varying degrees. The title theme, “paragraph,” opens up with the same sort of ambient soundscape as “photograph” before moving into a interesting electronic beat accompanied by wispy vocals. However, the strongest portions of the piece are definitely the more ethereal sections of the tune. The following tune, “Pulse,” also opens up with a very ambient electronic soundscape, sounding almost heavenly in execution, before moving on a really fun accompaniment consisting of drum pad and some bass guitar. It’s a really bright and bubbly sound with some softer moments and some great synthesizer sections as well. In addition, the vocalist fits quite well with this soundscape.
“Dropping In on the Way” is definitely one of my favorite tunes on the album. It has this wonderful pop ballad sound, thanks to the focus on piano and acoustic guitar, and is a quite endearing tune overall. The acoustic guitar solo that is also incorporated into the piece is an absolute beauty. In addition, the vocals are absolutely stunning and really accentuate the tone of the piece. “Kaze-gai Replay” moves back into electronic pop territory with a beautiful vocal performance that really matches the soft drum pad and ethereal synthesizer tones. The instrumental bridges are definitely a brighter affair and match the bubbliness of the introduction. “Unexpected rewind” definitely is more reminiscent of the faster vocal themes present on pgh1; however, there is a nice edginess to this piece, thanks to the focus on electric guitar in the accompaniment. It really compliments the softer side of the accompaniment.
“Close and Far Away” is another stellar track on a very strong album. It focuses on soft electronic pop, for the majority of the track. There are many musical layers to this track and it really makes for a pleasant listen. The vocals are wispy and really bring an innocent flair to the melody. Of course, there is also a section at the end of the track that incorporates a faster tempo, introduces some rock riffs, and features an absolutely stunning synth solo. The closing song before the remixes, “The Evening Sky That Follows,” is a really beautiful pop tune as well with another very strong vocal performance. The chorus, in particular, is the strongest on the album and the percussion elements to the piece definitely give it a playful sound that fits well with the synthesizer and acoustic guitar.
The bonus remixes, similar to pgh1, will vary in terms of success to the listeners. The first remix, “Close and Far Away (Ym1024 remix),” takes the vocal track and gives it a more definitive dance atmosphere mixed with a bit of funk. It’s definitely the most successful of the remixes, in my opinion, as it keeps the nice layered approach of the original and brings it to a new level. There’s also a really sweet piano solo that really elevates the track as well. The next remix, “curtain (takdrive remix),” is a tune originally on his first solo album, pgh1. It is another dance oriented tune that really works, although I feel that some of the charm of the original is lost due to the heavy focus on beats and the subtle approach to the melody of the original. The last remix, “Unexpected rewind (eicateve remix),” is definitely the most experimental of the three. It features a heavy beat and is quite liberal in how it arranges the tune. No longer is the rock focus there. Instead the piece relies on vocal distortion and quirky accompaniment to interpret the original. It may be successful it what it aimed to do, but at the same time, it feels like its own tune.
In the end, I think that paragraph is on par with his first solo album, pgh1. While there is a stronger focus on vocal themes compared to the last album, even if only slightly, it shows a very talented composer who can also approach music with a softer side, compared to the more electronic oriented stuff that he may typically be known for. The bonus remixes are of varying quality, but the original tunes are all quite strong in composition. If you purchase the album, it comes with a code to download a small preview for what seems to be his next KLAMNOP work, pgh2, so that’s something to consider as well. If you are a fan of Takahiro Eguchi and want to know a different side of him, this is definitely worth picking up.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on March 16, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 17, 2016.